Russia In Revolution ; War Communism to the Death of Lenin

A collection of notes including notes on war communism , nep , kronstadt mutiny etc. up to the death of Lenin.

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War Communism
Main Features
- The Bolsheviks believed that the socialist society needed to be created and that tough methods
were needed. Trotsky said that "Soviet authority is organised war" and Lenin " The proletarian
slogan must be: civil war".
- Lenin attacked the banks on the 14th December he sent in the army to take them over as they
were to become nationalised.
- A more controversial policy of Lenin's was his decision to not repay any of the international
debts and loans that the Tsar and Provisional Government had run up.
- As part of War Communism landowners lost their land. There was a point when money was
- Labour conscription was introduced for those aged between 16 and 60.
- State Communism was in full swing.
- The Supreme Economic Council was in charge of the economy.
- Nationalisation reached 37,000 in 1920.
- Rationing replaced money. However the rations were not enough and the black market grew as
a result. Bartering was also popular to top up rations.
- This bartering was seen by communist idealists as the perfect way to go from liberation to
capitalism. Inflation was the real motive behind it.
- Slave labour became common place and was used regularly by the state.
- Trotsky wanted to introduce labour army discipline in industry but Lenin disagreed.
- The Commissariat of Supplies or Narkomprod prioritised the workers over everyone else. The
more the workers made in terms of output or the more important their job was the more grain
they got. The Ural-Siberian method was the means by which the towns and cities were fed, this
involved Communists requisitioning grain from peasants in the countryside.
- Those who were deemed middle class received what Zinoviev called "just enough bread so as
not to forget the smell of it".
- Hierarchy was reintroduced in the army and the peasants were unhappy.
- The Bolsheviks wanted to remove the village Mir commune and caused much dispute between
the peasants.
Why was it adopted?
- The Bolsheviks had a terrible economy to deal with. It was on the verge of collapse.
Was War Communism a success?
- War Communism was useful tactic for the Communists and helped them to win the Civil War.
But for everyone else in Russia it had many problems.
- Half of Lenin's prised workers disappeared between 1917 and 1920. Many had died in the Civil
- Famine was a huge problem in 1921, this coupled with peasants producing less grain so that it
couldn't be requisitioned led to starvation in one of the main cities. War and drought had also
attributed this problem. As a result between 1 and 2 million died.
- Industry was also badly affected with coal output having dropped by 27%, pig iron 2.5% and
copper 1.7% from before the war.
- Most wages were paid in kind rather than money as the rouble had collapsed, almost 90%.
- 9 million are thought to have died as result between 1917 and 1921.
- Peasants were fed up and as a result they started to revolt, most notably in the Tambov
province in 1920- 1921.
- Lenin had to react and in 1921 he announced the end of War Communism.
Kronstadt mutiny
- Lenin's largest supporters were the sailors at the Kronstadt naval base near Petrograd. They
were the Revolutionary Baltic Fleet and helped them in the revolution and the civil war.
- They had become disillusioned with Lenin.
- Ukrainians had started to make up a larger and larger proportion of the Kronstadt sailors.
- They wanted an end to the Communist party's special status, a return to free speech and the

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They also wanted political prisoners to be
released, equal rations for all workers and elections by secret ballot.
- They found support and many demonstrated in sympathy in Moscow and Petrograd. They
wanted an end to the Communists.
- It was an embarrassment for the Bolsheviks they weren't anti revolutionaries but were labelled
as white reactionaries by the Bolsheviks.
- The slogan of the sailors was "Soviets without Bolsheviks". It has been described as the
moment when the Bolsheviks lost touch with the working classes.…read more

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Peasant ­ Soviet ­ executive committee ­ Layers of government ­ Top of government
Democracy was lacking however: Sovnarkom was in charge and made the laws and
other city and provincial soviets made decisions without lower soviet input at all.
The reasons for these discrepancies are usually attributed to Russia's social and
economic state at the end of the Civil War.
Ban on Factionalism
By the time NEP was introduced the Communists were splitting the party apart.…read more

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Corruption from the Nepmen was rife and bribes could get you nearly anything. Crime
and prostitution were rife.
Trade agreements from countries like Britain and Germany followed as it was assumed
that the Communist experiment was over.…read more

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In the Ukraine and Black Sea regions the Bolsheviks won back land with the help of land
reform and pure brute force. Ukraine fell in 1920. Spring 1920 saw the defeat of
Azerbaijan, winter 1920 Armenia and early 1921 Georgia. Khiva and Bukhara were also
conquered in Central Asia.
Despite these successes Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia remained fiercely
independent until 1940.
Poland was also an embarrassment as Red forces had to sign the embarrassing Treaty of
Riga in March 1921.…read more


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